T Nation

3 Ring Binders are NOT Books!


The last "book" I ordered was really a 3-ring binder that had a bunch of single-spaced pages that someone printed out from his garage printer. When the "book" arrived, pages had already fallen out. (Anyone who has ever used a 3-ring binder will understand what I mean.)

Is this some sort of sick trend?

I don't need glossy images or anything. But a 3-ring binder is hard to tote around to read, and the pages like to fall out from between the gaps that invariable form in the binder.

A book should be printed on quality paper (not the stuff you buy at Staples) and should have a binding. This is not about looks. It is about function and portability.

I also think it's misleading that people advertise their writings as "books." If the author would have said, "I had a high school student print this out on his ink-jet printer, so the pages will fall out and the images and font look like crap," fine. But calling a 3-ring binder with a bunch of crappy quality pages is a book is misleading.

I gotta send this thing back.

Was this an unusual occurrence? Or is this a trend?

To avoid acrimony, I am not going to name the author. But if a bunch of authors are doing this, a list might need to be made.

Again, if you like 3-ring binders, that's great. That's your choice. But consumers have a right to know whether the book they are dropping a C-Note on is actually a book.

Incidentally, Chad Waterbury's book is actually a book. And I've never gotten crappy quality stuff from T-Nation. So maybe this is just something individual authors are doing?


Yeah, I also hate it when I order a book and it has the cheap plastic binding college professors use when they make course packets, instead of real binding. The info was really good, but I just didn't like the way the book was put together.

I'd rather have an ebook than what I ordered. It would be cheaper, I would get it immediately, and I could print it out myself and put it in my own 3-ring binder if I wanted to.

I guess it is their way of making a profit though. I'd rather have low quality binding and quality information than quality binding and garbage.


Do you seriously ever shut the fuck up and stop your bitching?


I'm with you 100% on this one. I hate the 3 ring binder.


Great points. I had never looked at the issue in that manner. Thanks for contributing to the discussion.


Obviously it's a cost issue... and the book/binder in question probably wasn't printed on a "garage printer" buy at a professional printer (much cheaper for volume stuff).

If the authors felt that they could afford to make a "real" book (or if they had a publisher), they probably would have, depending on the cost of printing and how many sales except (if you have to print-up a minimum of a thousand copies, but you don't know if you can sell that many, you might be reluctant to release the product in a book format).

I agree that they really should state that it comes in the form of a binder... but in the, it's the information that's more important than anything else.

I've orderrf stuff that ended-up being binders and it didn't mind too much; and I've, just tdoay, ordered another $100 book that'll likely be in a binder format... but I don't care because the information looks to be excellent.

If it gives you the information that you need, then I'd say that it was a worthwhile purchase even if it's in a less-than-ideal form factor (better than a beautiful book with crappy info).


I'd rather have both. Most authors have managed to do both.

To me, it's an issue of disclosure. If they said, "Hey, I have some great information boxed up in a really shitty binder that will fall apart on you unless you sit at your desk, lie it flat while reading it, and store it like it's a delicate flower," cool. Really, that would not bother me at all.

It's the deceptive ad copy. If it ain't a book, don't call it a book.

Be forthright with your customers. Tell them exactly what they are purchasing. That's business ethics 101.


You don't say very much do you - bit of a voyeur, huh?

(I'm just kidding)


BTW, where are you getting these "books"? I've never had a book come as a file...


Yes, content counts. I never said otherwise. And my issue is not with the looks of the binder. It's not about aesthetics.

These 3-ring binder things are a pain in the ass to read. I like to lounge around and read my books. I like to lay down and hold the book. I like to port my books around. I like to read them at Starbuck's or the dog park.

You can't feasibly do this with the binders. Pages fall out. The wholes in the pages tear. It's a mess.

Plus, these binders are not the dead-sea scrolls. I'm not going to sit at my desk like some sort of monk and pour over every word of them as if I am reading universal truth. Any author who expects this is so full of himself it's scary. Content needs to be portable.

Also, for the third time, all authors need to do is disclose that what they are selling is not a book. If it's a binder with crappy pages, just say so.


i have several and the pages are falling out from READING it,imagine that i want to read it several times.


It's a self-publishing thing. I've ordered self-published books from a few different authors. I've never gotten a 3 ring binder, but have got some poor quality shit. You can make a better book than that by using products from Kinko's. I don't even mind combtooth binding. If quality paper is used, it will hold up well over time.


Apparently the Velocity Diet makes me somewhat peevish in the morning... meh.


i think at least 65% of your posts are super whiney rants. what gives? it's ok to be happy c-law. hit the gym! that puts everyone in a good mood.


Like I said, it's a cost issue. If you don't have a publisher, it's much more expensive to produce a decent quality book... and we aren't taking about a pocket paperback, but a large (like 8x10 at least) book.

If you have to have your book printed/published yourself and the printer demands a minimum of, say, 300 copies, that's a pretty hefty up-front, out-of-pocket expense if you aren't sure that you'd sell enough copies to even make your money back.

Maybe a solution would be to also include an e-book version, so that you could read that on-the-go (assuming that you have a protable device that can read ebooks).

Anyhow, unless they find a publisher, they'll likely stick with the binder format.

Still, if they have a money-back guarantee (just about all of the authors who sell books/binders here do), if you don't like the product at least you can return it (which is better than getting a binder and being stuck with it if it really doesn't suit you).


Who's book was it?


I actually prefer three ring binders, because it makes it easier for me to scan the book. Admittedly, most people do not want to do this.


totally with you on this .

the 3-ring binder is shite. and trying to read it is a crap experience. it's just too damn clunky and you need alot of space to read it and the freaking thing takes up half my bag. you can't turn the pages/the pages rip/crumple/bend/get dirty. it's covered in freaking PVC, reminds me of the shit binders i use for work and it smells like i'm @ staples. even a spiral-bound would be better than a 3 ring.

last time i got a 3-ring was with a "book" that's fairly well known to this site. i won't name it either though. caveat emptor.


Wait, are you talking about scanning as in flipping through casually or do you mean scanning it into an image file or PDF, you crazy nerd?


PDF, natch'.

And yes, I am a crazy nerd. I can keep my entire collection of undergraduate EE/CS books stored a flashdrive and carry them around with me.

I can't wait until the e-paper book readers lower in price!

And before someone points it out, I do realize that the point was made that it was better to download an ebook. I would rather get a hardcopy and make my own ebook.


Then they could sell it as an e-book. But then, it's hard to charge a C-Note for an e-book. So there is a profit motive to market something as a real-life book.

And I'll say it one more time (making this the fourth time I've said this): Authors can bind their writings in lamb skin for all I care. I simply have a right as a consumer to know, in advance, whether I'm getting a "book" or not.

It's about ethics - plain and simple.